Dieting is NOT the Answer

Podcast with Joe Divoky

Podcast: Dieting is NOT the Answer

In this episode of the Banowetz Marketing Podcast, Joe Divoky talks about his lifelong struggle with his weight and his process to achieving a healthy weight and lifestyle.


– Okay, welcome back to the Banowetz marketing podcast, we’re so excited you’re here, and I am very pumped for our guest today.

– Joe, do you wanna introduce yourself?

– Yeah, my name is Joe Divoky and I actually went to high school with Sarah, so, blast from the past right?

– Yes, I know.

– We haven’t even seen each other since high school.

– [Joe] No, we we haven’t.

– This is exciting, and one of our best friends is the same person, Stacey Phan, so–

– Yes, yes, memories. Memories, we might go down that road later, you never know

– Yes, yes, so what are you doing now, Joe?

– So I’m actually in Iowa City as an elementary principal, and so kind of keeping busy with that and plus do a little bit of farming on the side and do a little bit of health coaching and lifestyle coaching, and needless to say, a lot of irons in the–fire, no, what is that word? You know what I mean.

– I know irons in the fire.

– Yeah, so a lot of things going on and lots of plates spinning and it’s a lot of fun, so–

– Awesome, awesome. You grew up in a farming family, right?

– I did, yep, I’m born and raised on a dairy farm.

– Awesome, so we grew up in Solon, Iowa. And Solon is very much, we were just talking about this, very much–there’s a lot of business families, families that own their own businesses, which was the family I grew up in, and then a lot of farming families, and you grew up–

– Which is what I grew up in.

– Yeah, farming family.

– Yep, yeah, and it’s funny because I grew up in a dairy farm, so if you don’t know much about dairy farm, it’s like, you’re tied to being on a farm every day at four o’clock in the morning, and I was up milking cows, and then went to school, was at school all day, did activities, I mean, I was in sports, I was in music, I did all that stuff, came home, did it at night again, did it all the next day. Hated it, hated it, but I will tell you, it taught you a lot of good life lessons, you know what I mean, yes.

– Work ethic. Yep, and really think, looking at some of the things that I do today, like my commitment and my, I’m like, you know, you gotta really structure and focus your time. You don’t have a lotta time when you’re dairy farming and stuff, so, which is really funny, ’cause I always said when I graduate high school, they’re like, my dad actually offered to pay for, y’know, if I went to Kirkwood or the University of Iowa we would pay for it if we’d stay home and help do chores, and I’m like, nope. None of my brothers took him up on that, so. But I will tell you this: two of us now, actually now that we’re grown up and have our own places, we have like, hobby farms, if you want to say. So you can take the boy out of the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the boy, if that makes sense, and so, so I do some farming now today, and we raise some show horses, and I raise a few cows, and yeah, kinda keep busy with all that stuff, but–

– So what about vacations then, do you get to go on vacations?

– Yes, so this makes it a little bit easier to go on vacations. Growing up, we didn’t do vacations. Our vacations were, and I think part of it, it’s not just the farming stuff that kept us kept us from the vacations, it was, I grew up in a, at the time I thought like, oh, we have everything we need, but looking back I’m like, you know, we grew up in a very, I don’t wanna say poverty, but we grew up in a situation where we didn’t really have everything that we needed if that makes sense, now that I know more and more about talking to my pa–my mom, and stuff, but, anyway, so a lot of vacations for us, which seemed like awesome vacations at the time were like, spending a night in a hotel, like, 20 minutes away, so. Plus, then we still had to get up and go do chores the next morning, so, but no, I do on vacations a lot. And actually, I think that’s part of what has inspired my love to travel is because we didn’t do it much as a kid. So the good thing about what I do now with the farming and everything is somebody could take care of that, it’s pretty easy to do, but then like, elementary principal, I have vacation, so I have people that kind of take over for me when I’m gone, and then my health coaching and lifestyle coaching, I can do that anywhere. As long as I have my phone, internet access, I can do that. So I do a lot of it during the winter months and stuff from beaches and stuff ’cause I, I’m like a warm weather person.

– There’s a lot of people out there who are doing that now, traveling, so, living the laptop life.

– I know, it’s, I think when we think back to when we were in school, I mean, we won’t say the year that we graduated ’cause it’s almost 20 years now, which is hard to believe.

– You keep talking about this on Facebook, I’m like, no, we’re not that old! We’re closer to 35 than 40.

– That is true, that is true.

– We may be closer to 40 than 30, but we’re still closer to 35 .

– We are, we are. And that’s, you know, I think a lot of times as we start to grow up we’re like, oh, I don’t wanna–30’s old. Let’s put it this way.

– Yeah, 30 was hard.

– Like, my, when kids are like, how old are you? And I’m like, well how old do you think I am? Oh, you gotta be at least 30, and I’m like, oh, yeah, I am 30 and I’m proud of it, you know, but I thought sometimes they were gonna say, oh, you’re 80 or you’re 90 and it’s like, it’s that perception of what is old for kids that are five, six, they think that 15 is old, and to be 15 again, or no, not really, probably, but, anyway.

– Okay, Joe, tell me, okay. Your family, one of three children, you’re the middle child right, okay.

– Yes, I’m the middle child. Explains a lot!

– So, brother and sister?

– [Joe] Two brothers.

– Two brothers.

– Yes.

– Family of boys.

– Yes, my mom was the only girl, God bless her soul. I don’t know how she did it.

– And then your family now, so you have a husband.

– I do, yep.

– Okay, what’s his name?

– Tommy.

– Tommy, okay.

– Yep, so on top of that, not only do we have all that stuff we also have a carpet cleaning business.

– Oh, okay, I didn’t know that!

– That’s kinda his business, and so I help with that sometimes, so you might see pictures of me on Facebook pulling carpet hoses on my free time, so, yeah, again.

– So you need to give a shout-out to it.

– Superior Carpet Clean.

– Okay.

– Yes, he was actually cleaning right by your parents’ house today for Tom Hallob.

– Okay, nice!

– Yeah, so that’s, we’re always somethin’ to do.

– How do they find a website, phone, anything?

– You can go to Facebook, he’s got a Facebook page, Superior Carpet Clean, and actually I can’t even tell you the phone number right now ’cause, I don’t, I have it saved in my phone, but, yeah. Maybe at the end I can get it out and we can get that.

– Awesome, well we can link to it too, so it’ll be fine.

– That’s true, perfect, but yeah, we live in Solon and do all that and–

– No kids yet?

– No, no, and I don’t know if that day will come, like I said, I have about 400 of ’em at school every single day and–

– Yeah you have a lot of kids.

– I do, and we have a two-year-old Saint Bernard who is like a small child himself but he’s really 180 pounds, so.

– I understand, ’cause I have six kids and two dogs and the dogs follow me everywhere, they’re like toddlers. They never grow up.

– Benson thinks he is a lap dog.

– Now, my dog is a lap dog and thinks that she’s like a St. Bernard, I mean she’s, it’s amazing she’s still alive, not joking.

– I said to that to my hus–she almost got her neck torn off the other day from a bigger dog, because she’ll just go, she just thinks just so big and powerful that she’s gonna intimidate these big dogs, and they’re like, hey, you’re an appetizer.

– Yeah, mhm.

– I mentioned to my husband the other day, I was like, Tori, like, literally almost just got killed. The neighbor just pulled the dog back up right at the perfect timing, and Matt goes, doesn’t she like, almost get killed, like, every other day, and like, yeah, it’s amazing she’s still alive.

– ‘Cause we have two small ones two, and they think, one of ’em, they’re two chihuahuas, and then, one of ’em think it’s like this king dog, they’re both girls, but one thinks it’s like this massive beast, the other one is like, your stereotypical dog that’ll yip at you. But the thing is, the dog, the St. Bernard wants to play and the little ones don’t wanna play, so the one thing that will play with it is the cat, and the cat, like, can beat up on this dog, so, it’s kind of fun, I should like start, chronic–chronicling?

– You should start an Instagram for the pets!

– I should.

– Or from the perspective of the cat, maybe.

– That is true, her name is Lulu, and she’s an interesting one herself, so.

– Yeah, you should do that.

– It’s never a dull moment at the house.

– The marketing person in me tells me you should do that, and then you could like, they could talk about the carpet cleaning business, and then your, okay so this is a perfect segue too. Talk to us about your health and coaching.

– Yeah, so that actually was something that kind of fell in my lap, if you wanna say. So it all started with me being somebody that’s been pretty unhealthy my entire life, I mean, I struggled with weight in high school, and then in college, put on, a lot of times people say the freshman 15, it was more like the freshman 50 for me, and then about, some more after that, so, I’m five foot six, and so when I was at the heaviest I ever was, I was at like, 240, roughly.

– Okay.

– So pretty unhealthy. People look at my pictures back then and are like, that’s not you, and I’m like, yes it is, trust me. I always the story, I always these two stories, one: my passport literally looked like a basketball, and so when I had lost a little bit of weight, the people, when I was trying to leave Poland to come back to the United States, they kept lookin’ at me and they’re like, I’m like, it’s me I’ve lost a little bit of weight, and they’re like, yeah we can tell. And then the one thing I always, when I was in Cedar Falls, at the UNI I worked at the bookstore. And my mousepad was always the BMI index and so it always stared at me saying, you’re obese, you’re obese, you’re obese!

– Okay, that would be tough.

– It was, it was, I mean, ’cause every time, like, this is where I’m supposed to be at but this is where I’m at, it ain’t, it’s never gonna happen because I was always like, I’m big-boned, and so it was just funny, kind of, one year I got sick in college and lost about 10 pounds just ’cause I couldn’t eat, and I’m like, oh this is kinda nice! And so I started watching what I eat, and by that I mean, not going to McDonald’s every day and not ordering a medium pizza and eating it myself, but then I just started working out a little bit, and I kinda got down to about 170-ish, so I lost quite a bit of weight. And not where I wanted to be, but I felt better. So I kind of got complacent and kind of just stayed there you know, and I was okay with that, ’cause I was again, better than I was, but not where I wanted to be. And then, when I started working as a principal, like a lot of jobs, there’s a lot of stress, and I’ve got some amazing staff members who like to bake and I would come into my office and there’d be like, cupcakes and pieces of bread, and I’m like, but I can’t turn it down, you know, so I ate it and I ate it and I ate it. If you look, I think there’s a picture on my Facebook somewhere, you look at like my school IDss, it’s like, every year as it progressed I probably put on about 10 pounds or so every year, and so about two years ago I had my second rotator cuff surgery, and for some reason I thought it’d be a great idea to step on the scale, and I got really, like, I’m like, oh my gosh, and so, ’cause I was back up over 200 pounds. And I think one of the things that was kinda the tipping point for me is like, the clothes that I was in before surgery were starting to not fit and I needed bigger clothes and to me that was the size that meant being at my heaviest, you know, again and I’m like, I can’t do it. So I saw my cousin who actually lives in Texas was having some awesome results, and so I reached out to her and kinda just started my own health journey with just watching what I ate, I mean I couldn’t exercise, so it was all food, and within about three and half months I lost 65 pounds.

– Wow. More than I ever thought that I was ever going to. I just wanted to lose 20 pounds, which is what I gained–

– [Sarah] And that was with just watching your diet?

– Just watching what I eat, so a very structured eating plan where I didn’t have to count anything, I just had to eat six times a day, and then like I said I lost, what I wanted to do was lose 20 but it ended up being, for the first time in my life I’ve been at a healthy BMI. I’m just, if I look right on that BMI index, I’m right where I need to be, which is kind of a great feeling, and just the confidence feeling, and just the way I feel, you know, I’m happy, and I post a lot on my social media accounts if you ever look at that, just about how on the outside I probably looked really, really fine. People saw a happy person, but inside I was like, I’m not worth anything, like I’m very unhealthy, and just, very negative, and I think a lot of people, when your health starts to suffer, that’s kind of where your mind goes, and so for me, a couple things that were really beneficial for this, not only the weight loss, I mean, don’t get me wrong, that’s amazing, and it’s just, I feel better than I ever have, but it’s more of like, I’m working on my mindset and how I actually see myself. I actually did a post this morning about the person that I see in the mirror now is somebody I actually like, I like who I’m becoming, whereas before, you know, we see our reflections so many times a day, and I just would head down and not even look at it before, because I just didn’t like the person that was in there, and it’s more of what was in my head, not what was actually on the outside and so, when I started seeing myself change, I was like, I know so many people that probably have the same feelings, whether it’s about physical health, or the, I say mental health but I mean more of like a healthy mind, you know, kind of just that self-perception of themselves, and so that’s what kind of forced me, not forced me. That’s what kind of prompted me to wanna share this with other people so I started sharing my story and people would reach out to me and say, what did you do? And I said, they’re like, what diet did you do? And I said, I’m not doing a diet. I’ve done diets before; diets don’t work ’cause they don’t teach me anything, they don’t teach me how to get the nutrition right, they don’t teach me how to get the mind right, they don’t teach you all that stuff. You need a supportive community, and that’s one of the things that this journey has given me. Like I said, I’m going to a convention for other health coaches that I work with down in Orlando in July, and that’s like, that’s like my family, you know. I’ve got my family, but this is my other family. So I look forward to that ’cause I’m around people that have similar visions and goals and things like that. And so I’ve been coaching people on their own health journey and life journeys, lifestyle journey with their nutrition and exercise and things like that for about two years now, and I’ve actually maintained my weight loss for two years, that whole time, which has never happened.

– Oh, awesome. Well, I’ve heard that’s the hardest part, right? It’s the maintaining.

– Yeah, I think what makes this different than diets, ’cause a lot of people are like, diet, diet, diet! Diets don’t teach you the habits and things that you need to be successful, whereas that’s what I learn and that’s what’s allowing me to be successful and that’s what I’m sharing with other people, and so, you know, I say this because it’s like, when I talk about worth and value and things like that that I pride in–that was again, my own thoughts, nobody ever told me, that I’m aware of, that I was worthless, or you know, had no value, but it’s like, through this I’ve seen that I love, I love serving people, that’s kind of my calling. That’s why I’m in education, I serve the kids that I work with and I work in a very at-risk building, so these are kiddos that you know, are coming to us with a lot of trauma, actually, in their lives. So being able to serve them and help them have a positive experience and then also know that they are worth something and that there’s more to life than maybe what they’ve experienced and so, same thing for the people that I help with the coaching is, you know, I want them to see that they are worth something, that their story does matter, and we want to help them see that themselves and share with others, so two, we, I have a, there’s a system that we use that I keep track of things in between myself helping actual people on their own journey or helping people that have become coaches themselves and their own journey, to this point, about 800 people I’ve had a help impacting,

– Wow, that’s amazing!

– It is, I never would have imagined,

– In like, less than,

– In two year, yeah.

– In two years.

– Yeah, and so it’s been awesome and I have noticed in myself, like, just changes not only in my physical health but just who I am as a person, I mean I find myself being more–were talking about this earlier–I’m an introvert by nature, like I’m hugely introverted and that’s how I always have been, but I find myself becoming more of an extrovert in situations and knowing that I have to push myself outside of that to have an impact on people ’cause they, if I’m not willing to share my story and you know, and reach out to people, they might not make the changes that they need, and one of my mentors always tells story of kind of how he kinda was, same thing. He had an awesome story and was kind of like, there’s all these people that he thought about, I’m like, oh, Grandma Sue, or whoever could really–

– I actually had a Grandma Sue, I’m sorry.

– I did not not have a Grandma Sue, I had an Aunt Sue, like Great Aunt or something, but he always tells the story of how there was these people that he always wanted to reach out but he was scared to and was like about ready to call this person and say, hey I’ve been thinking about you, and that’s it! Not, hey I’ve been thinking about you, you really need to go on this journey, but I’ve just been thinking about you, and the day he was gonna call he got the news that person had actually passed away from very poor health. And so that prompted him to say, I’m not settling here. I’m gonna keep pushing, and these people that I know, I’m gonna reach out to them, and again, not go right to it, “oh, you need to change your health,” but reach out and just have that connection with them and let them know our story and stuff, and so that’s kinda what’s prompted me to do that, ’cause I don’t want to be, I don’t wanna every have somebody that I’ve been thinkin’ about that’s struggling with something know that maybe I could have had that impact on them if I don’t share my story, so, so yeah, that’s kind of, for me it’s really what I’ve, it’s become a passion, it’s become my mission to get people healthy and get people seeing that there is so much more that maybe they’re not seeing themselves, so, ’cause somebody took the chance to do that with me, so now, I’m paying it forward and helping other people, so.

– Okay, so I have a question for you, so I’m an extrovert, you’re an introvert, I have trouble balancing all of the things, ’cause you said you have a lot of–you’re spinning a lot of plates and you’re also spinning a lot of relationships too,

– Correct.

– So how do you balance it all, then? Because I struggle with balancing all the tasks with all the people stuff, and I’m an extrovert, and I think extroverts are, they have an easier time balancing a lot of relationships, but I feel like I’m starting to get maxed out.

– It’s hard, I will say one thing that, again we talked back to when I was a kid growing up on a farm, all the structure and the routines and stuff and the work ethic, I think that’s truly what helps me is like, I’m so structured in my day that I block off everything. If you were to ever look at my calendar, it would be like, literally, wake up, my morning time, which is like, morning routine, I have personal development in the morning, I sit and read for 25, 30 minutes every morning. Looking through social media, ’cause that’s how I do a lot of connecting with people, and then during the school year about six o’clock I start getting ready for work, drive to school and on the way to school I’m listening to podcasts and I’m listening to more personal development, as you know, a lot of leadership stuff, ’cause in my role I’m a leader both as a principal and with the coaching and stuff. And so, do that, and then my school day is structured too, all my meetings are in there, and then when I get out of school it’s like, here’s my gym time, here’s my mealtime, here’s my connecting with clients time, here’s my connecting with coaches time, here’s my connecting with mentors time, here’s my me time, and I set aside time every week to have like, date nights, you know, ’cause again, you have to have all those things down, and so, like, Friday nights are our date nights, so that’s after here, that’s what we’re doing, and so–

– Where are you guys going tonight?

– Probably Big Grove in Solon, that’s one of our favorite places, it’s so close, I mean it’s got, it’s just a good atmosphere, and you know, and then on the weekends it just depends on what goes on, there’s always projects to do, so I think this weekend we’re working on re-doing some cabinets and then in between there I’ll connect with people, so I just, for me it is very about being structured and very, it has to be in, if it’s not in my calendar, it doesn’t get done, and so, even in those times where I’m connecting with people I know exactly who I’m connecting with, I don’t connect with every–yeah, so every Thursday night for example I do what I call client support, so I’m getting on the phone and calling all my clients, and I just, there’s some that I do every Thursday, there’s some that I do every other Thursday, and so it’s very structured and that’s how I roll, if you wanna say, when it comes to all that kinda stuff, is having things structured. Now I know people that do the same thing that don’t have structure, that just, they can keep it all up here in their head and know where they need to be, and who they need to talk to, and who this person is and who that person is. I can’t do that because there’s so many things that go on up here that I forget, and I overlap and stuff, and so, so that’s what helps me is just the really structuring everything and-

– It makes a lot of sense, and I never really thought about it, because if it’s not on my calendar, it does not get done. So my calendar is, but, I never really thought about doing that with relationships, too. Like having dedicated da-da-da-da. There’s a friend of mine, Karen, lives in Texas, and so I have for every Monday morning I’m supposed to call her. I haven’t been, because to me, it’s not like even though I put it on the calendar, I don’t treat it as if I put it on the calendar, it’s like a reminder or whatever, and then I’m like, oh, when I get to it. Which, what I should do is just get to it.

– Yeah, and that’s the thing. I have reminders on there so that it comes off, and that’s why it reminds me, I’m like, oh.

– And then just actually do the thing.

– Then I do, yeah. The great thi- I used to dread my drive to and from work because it’s about a half an hour one-way just where I live. It’s not that far, but where I live to where I’m going there’s no easy, direct route. It’s stoplights, traffic, all that kinda stuff. And so I actually enjoy that time because one, I’m doing personal development, or two, it’s actually a time where I’m able to connect with a lot of people and just catch up on what’s going on. With the technology of Bluetooth and all that kind of stuff. I’m a safe driver, I promise. I’m not like texting and stuff on the phone, I’m using my Bluetooth, but that’s actually been a good time to connect with people and catch up with family and all that kind of stuff.

– Awesome. Okay, last question. What are you reading these days?

– So actually, I just finished the book this morning.

– Okay.

– Church Boy to Millionaire by Doug Woods, who’s actually one of my mentors with the coaching and lifestyle thing that I do. But it’s very awesome, I’ve got another one that is called, and I’m laughing because it’s called Get Over Your Damn Self.

– Okay.

– And so I’m pretty excited.

– Who’s the author, though?

– Oh I can never say her name, but it’s about somebody that’s very similar, that started kind of her own business and kind of just had a lot of concepts and stuff, and myself, I have a lot of concepts that I have to get over and so it’s like, okay, I’m gonna get over my damn self and do it, but I’ve got a couple other ones. I’ve got Leadershift coming by John Maxwell–

– I’m reading a John Maxwell right now too, Failing Forward.

– Yep. I haven’t read that one but I’ve heard. John Maxwell’s really good, and so, I’m trying to think what else I have that I’ve just recently finished. Highly Effective Habits of Highly Effective People.

– Okay.

– And again, I can’t remember the guy’s name, but I can see the book sitting right on my coffee table.

– Awesome.

– Reading has been something I never used to like to do, and now I look forward to that time in the morning.

– Yeah. I love reading, but I’m the kind of person that’s like, I don’t finish the thing. Well, I used to when I was a kid, but now, I mean–

– Yeah.

– You know, I should actually learn to be a speed reader. I mean, go to a class or something.

– Yeah.

– ‘Cuz I keep buying all these books and then not finishing them.

– Well, and see, a lot of people are like, do audio books. Which I can listen to them, but I don’t, I’m the one that has to highlight.

– Yes.

– And I have to make a quick note, ‘cuz if I hear it, I’ll hear it, but it goes right out.

– Yeah.

– But if I have it in front of me and can make my note–

– Yep. Are you a visual learner?

– I am, yes.

– Yeah, me too.

– I have to see it and be able to do it, and then can visualize it and can write things down.

– Which is really, visual learners are kinda, at least I’m kinda funny in this, when I’m telling stories, I’ll be like, well I was driving down First Avenue as I was over by da-da-da-da, and then I had this thought, and people are probably like, why do I need to know where you were at and what you were looking at when you were on this phone call or had this conversation or anything like that. It’s like, well that’s how I remember stuff, so–

– Me too. And always people are like, get to the point, and I’m like, well I am getting to the point, but this stuff is part of it. If you see the recording of this, like the actual visual stuff, you see that I’m very hands–

– Yes!

– It’s part of my visual–

– I do that too!

– People I think, sometimes in meetings I have to be like, okay, I’ll have to hold my hands because people get distracted by my hands doing the talking. But that’s just part of who I am.

– Awesome. Okay, so if anyone wants to get some coaching advice from you, where do they find you at?

– So, three big ways, you can find me on my social media, which is just Joe Divoky at Facebook. I have an Instagram account, I’m working on my Instagram. I’m trying to master one before I go to the other. But then you can always email me, just at joe.divoky, and that’s D-I-V-O-K-Y at Or you can always just reach me on my cellphone, 319-331-6657.

– Awesome, thanks for coming on, Joe.

– Yeah, no problem, I’m glad we got reconnected and we were able to do this, it’s been fun.

– Yeah, I’m excited, I can’t wait to put this on there, ’cause we never really hung out in high school.

– It’s fun, it’s fun to reconnect with people, especially people that, like you said, maybe you didn’t really hang out with much in high school, and I was saying earlier too that we came from a class of 60-some people, like it was not huge at all, and so, which is very unfortunate that we didn’t hang out together, just as, all of us as a class so.

– Well, yeah, I know, but we did grow up, I felt like we had a perfect class size because we weren’t in each other’s business all the time, but we still knew a lot about each other because of the smaller class size, so I felt like I knew you just because Stacy and I were so close and I’d hear all the stories and–

– Hopefully the good ones, ’cause there was, there was some good ones but there was also some not good ones. Live and learn, right?

– Stacy has her own stories too, I kind of mommed her a little bit in high school, but.

– We could probably write a book about all of our stories, you know, all of us and stuff.

– At our 20th reunion, we’ll like, what we should do is have everybody on podcast sometime.

– [Joe] Oh, that would be–

– Not everyone, but you know, you need to start a podcast.

– I would love to, that’s kinda what got this conversation going, yeah.

– Yeah, it is! Everyone join, hey Solonites, Spartans, you need to be on my podcast and you need to come and be on Joe’s podcast.

– There we go, we can dominate the podcast market.

– Thanks for being on, Joe.

– Yeah well thanks for having me, it was fun.

– And we will see you guys later, make sure you like, subscribe and follow us on all of our channels and share us with anyone that would be interested in marketing, so, talk to you later, bye!